Results and more on insei customs

Now, after the third October insei week is done with, I’m already able to claim the first place of class E. My result last weekend was another 11 wins, 0 losses, giving me a total result so far of 31 wins and 2 losses. The number two in class E has so far 13 losses, so even in the worst-case scenario, were I not to attend next week, it would be a tie for the first place. Needless to say, I won’t even think about not attending next weekend — after all, this training is what I came to Japan for. There’s one more weekend of October left, after which the top four insei (based on results) of each class go up a class, and the bottom four go down one. Class E has 60 minutes of time reserved for one game, resulting in a fast 30 minutes sudden death (with no byo yomi) time setting, but class D already has 90 or 120 minutes of time per round, depending on whether it’s a three or four-game day. Class D’s time settings are 40 minutes of main time with a 40 seconds per move Japanese byo yomi on three-game days, and 30 minutes of main time with a 30 seconds per move Japanese byo-yomi on four-game days.

I thought the readers might find the insei results sheet system interesting, so I went and took a photo. The system is, in fact, same as the one we’ve seen in Hikaru no Go! So far, I haven’t stamped my own palm in order to “grab the win”.

Red circles indicate wins, while black circles indicate losses. 中 inside a red circle means that the game was won by resignation, 5半 means a win by 5.5 points, and 不 means a default win. テアキ means a free round, due to the odd number of insei in class E. This sheet is for weeks 3 and 4; the results of the first two weeks are written in the lower part of the sheet.

Continue reading “Results and more on insei customs”

One week to go!

As the topic also states, I’m now only one week off from going to Japan! My period as insei starts right away on October 1, so I will only have some three days of time to get used to the new surroundings before I start with the real deal. As far as I know, I will be starting from the lowest insei group, so it may take a while before I start getting reasonably difficult games — yet I’m sure that if I don’t take my initial opponents seriously, as well, I may get some surprising losses! Most of the insei kids are most likely serious enough about what they’re doing.

My travel preparations are by now practically done, travel insurance included. For past several days I’ve been heavily concentrating on improving my Japanese language skills, to the extent of studying my university’s Japanese courses’ material without actually attending to the courses. I’ve also been reading a Japanese go theory book (Kihon Senryaku, “Basic strategy”: while claiming it is basic, most of its content I’ve never heard about before!) and Hikaru no Go in Japanese — while there are plenty of kanji that I need to check from the dictionary, I do understand most of the language after I get the hiragana versions of the words. It is probably not impossible for me, then, to survive in Japan with my current language skills. Some of the Japanese grammar still puts me off, however: for instance, it seems quite ridiculous that Japanese doesn’t have an equivalent for the English auxiliary verbs of “must” or “have to”. Instead, when in Japanese you indicate a compulsion to do something, you have to twist the whole sentence into a double negation! “You have to pay” would actually be something like “Speaking of you, not paying is not allowed”. These kinds of details are like to confuse me for a long time.